Passing on the Tradition from Generation to Generation by Justin Welker I started waterfowl hunting in 2004, 10 years later I think about it 365 days a year. I occupy the days in between seasons by scouting, organizing gear, and increasing our decoy collection. You can tell a Hard Core waterfowler by how they react when a flock of geese flies over head in August. Everyone stops talking and looks up! I began hunting with a friend of mine in college, his dad had taken him waterfowl hunting since he was a little boy. I will remember that first hunt for the rest of my life, we shot 17 ducks of all species and had amazing sausage patties in the boat. There were 3 of us in the boat, and his dad stood on the shore and watched. He had his gun, but he actually enjoyed watching us shoot and have fun. I remember thinking that day how odd it was that someone who loved to hunt so much would just stand on the shore and watch. His dad still does the same thing, he will drive over and hour and a half to lay in a field with us, he may shoot, he may not, but that’s not what it’s all about, it’s about the tradition and passing on the love of the sport. His son and I have both had babies in the last 5 months, all boys, he had twins (lucky him). We live across the street from each other, we work with each other, and we hunt everything under the sun together. So now when we get together it is hard not to talk about how we will probably end up being like his dad in 30 years. We will just lay in the blinds and watch our boys shoot, and maybe once they have filled their limits we will jump in and have some fun. We hope that our boys will enjoy the sport, and we can pass on our secrets, and our decoys. I have grown up in the outdoors fishing and hunting since I was old enough to hold a fishing pole while sitting in a stroller. The outdoors helped shape me into the man I am today. It taught me respect for wildlife and firearms, it taught me the love for family and allowed me to spend time with my dad. There is nothing more relaxing than sitting in a boat, blind, or tree stand and watching the sun come up with a cup of coffee and a sausage patty. If you have a chance, take a young person hunting or fishing, it doesn’t matter if you kill or catch anything, but just spend time with them talking. Teach them something new every day, let them tell stories about their day, let them exaggerate about the size of their fish or how many geese they killed. Hard Core makes a great layout blind that allows you to be near your junior hunter, but still stay hidden. It is the Hard Core Apprentice layout blind. This is a 2 person layout blind that allows you to coach, call, and shoot while helping your partner beside you. I cannot wait to lay in my Hard Core Apprentice blind with my son and see the look on his face when he hears that first honk in the morning. Justin Welker has a degree in wildlife and fisheries, waterfowl expert, and avid hunter from Pennsylvania. He manages thousands of acres for better habitat and hunting, and when not helping others on their property, he’s out in the marshes and fields of the Northeast.